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Luring Top Talent to Public Service

Luring Top Talent to Public Service


Joe Davidson | The Washington Post via YellowBrix

November 17, 2009

Among those signing the letter was Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit that works on federal workplace issues. “We see the scholarship program as key to building a pipeline of mission-critical talent into the federal government,” Stier said. His organization estimates that federal agencies will need more than 273,000 new hires through 2012 in areas such as engineering, medicine, public health, foreign languages and information technology.

The Senate bill would apply to undergraduate and graduate students. Only graduate students would be eligible under a similar measure introduced in the House in July by Reps. David E. Price (D-N.C.) and Michael N. Castle (R-Del.).

Rating the agencies

A Gallup survey of more than 40,000 households found that the U.S. military is “the highest rated sector of government by far.”

“In contrast,” the Gallup report continues, “federal agencies, while faring slightly better than Congress, are not viewed very positively or negatively by Americans.” Forty-six percent of poll respondents didn’t have much good or bad to say about federal agencies, but unfortunately, negative views outran positive ones by 34 percent to 20 percent.

The high-neutral rating provides “an amazing branding opportunity for federal agencies,” said Bob Torongo, a former Labor Department economist who is Gallup’s lead analyst on the project. Managers have the opportunity “to craft more awareness of their agencies in a positive light,” he added.

As might be expected during a time of war, the Defense Department was most cited as the agency most important to the future of the United States. Interestingly, the Education Department, which some Republicans once wanted to kill, came in second.

For those thinking of joining the workforce, the CIA is seen as “the federal employer of choice.” The Pentagon and the CIA also are perceived as the most prestigious agencies. That’s a pretty good comeback for the CIA, whose effectiveness was questioned after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“No other federal agencies elicit such a strong response from Americans,” the report said of the CIA, “with the slight exception of the Department of Education among young adults.”

Further Reading: Government Job Report – Top Hiring Federal Agencies (November 2009)

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